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Title: Cinematic perspectives on digital culture : moving image technology and the question of agency
Author: Taylor, Norman
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 8479
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2010
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This dissertation proposes a new film theory that embraces a philosophy of technology. It argues that, while digital culture efficiently combines functions (i.e. of phone and camera), this novelty has been given undue attention - for example in theories that celebrate remediation and convergence. Research shows that mobile phone and internet use gives rise to changes in how we think about our relation to space and time. I argue that these, along with notions of status and identity, are affected when technology mediates interaction. Extending McLuhan's prediction about instability in these phenomena, I propose that changes in perceptions of space, time and identity are key conceptual markers, which operate in a framework of 'affect'. Defined as an intense 'immersion' in automated functions, the space of affect has a media history in which the moving image is central. I explore a willingness to interact with the moving image apparatus by users in production or consumption frameworks. In contrast to a sadistic model of consumer immersion in film narrative that draws on psychoanalysis, I argue that a masochistic motive operates in the space of affect. Applying Gilles Deleuze's notion of an "abstract assemblage of desire" and drawing on concepts proposed by Actor Network Theory, discussion of examples of affective interaction are shown to prefigure the immersion seen in users of games and the internet. Submission to hybrid agency in the moving picture apparatus ranged from the pre-studio picture personality through the classical Hollywood period to the games avatar. By mobilising the raw material of identity and masochistic desire in the pre-studio picture personality, users of the apparatus employed the arrangements afforded by technology to form a prosthetic bond. The result was the star system, an assemblage of desire that metamorphosed the birth of moving images into an 'affective' hybrid agency extending outside the cinema. This dissertation argues that mechanisms of the birth and metamorphosis of moving images may be adapted to an understanding of digital culture in a continuum of conceptual change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available